Materials technology and recycling


Brussels, Belgium



The problem

Each business unit at Umicore followed its own process for IP monitoring and patent evaluation. This led to patents being stored in siloed archives and evaluations often took place on static Excel sheets. There was no way to tell who had looked at which piece of information and when, and locating archived records was a challenge.

The solution

Umicore implemented Minesoft’s Pat-KM solution to centralise, store and disseminate key patent records. Employing this single bespoke solution has allowed Umicore to stay on top of their patent portfolio, monitor competitor activity and draw meaningful conclusions from their patent archive so that they can dedicate more time to the business-critical R&D and innovation efforts.

Implementing an effective IP Knowledge Management solution

Umicore generates the majority of its revenues and dedicates most of its R&D efforts to clean mobility materials and recycling. Their mission to develop “materials for a better life” has been fundamental in their journey to become an industry leader in sustainability. Umicore’s innovation strategy and global presence

is key to its significant business impact. However, from an IP sharing perspective, their global presence naturally led to decentralised information storage. Umicore wanted to facilitate knowledge sharing within multiple business units across borders. So, they embarked on a mission to increase IP awareness across the business by exploring possible solutions to suit a range of IP needs. Minesoft’s Pat-KM solution was selected and implemented to centralise, store and disseminate key patent records.

An IP Knowledge Management solution supports searching and monitoring patents, organising a dynamic workflow for managing new patents, delivering custom categorisations for specific business units, search and analysis of all archived patents, and managing user access.

During the Pat-KM implementation period, Umicore managed their team’s expectations very well. Why the change was important was communicated with all users. Key personnel collaborated closely with Minesoft to ensure the final solution fit the needs of all users by testing multiple iterations of the solution, keeping open lines to feedback, and providing ongoing hands-on training.

The IP Knowledge Management solution was a marked success within Umicore. IP awareness increased, enabling more teams and projects to benefit from this resource of technical and market information. IP expertise grew across the organisation. There was high acceptance and usage of the platform, indicating that the importance of IP research across the organisation was well communicated and received. There was increased cooperation across borders. Teams were able to work remotely across international borders in a much more collaborative way since they no longer had to work with siloed patent information or untraceable workflows.

Minesoft continues to offer unlimited support and training to make any additions to Umicore’s Pat-KM classification tree and introduce new employees to the platform.

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Pat-KM provides access to global patent data with integrated workflow for monitoring, classification and dissemination of relevant patent records

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